December 29, 2011

Cold Winter Day

It's really chilly here today. Normally, this would not be noteworthy. This year, however, has been so unusually mild in Western New York that a really cold to the bone day is a surprise.

But it's nothing that a loaf of bread hot out of the oven and some pear butter won't cure.

Oh, and I almost forgot the Tillamook cheese (my little "slice" of Oregon right here in NY).
Hope you are keeping warm today. :)

December 28, 2011

Christmas Blessings

I hope everyone was able to have a peaceful Christmas. We were so blessed this year, as always.

We went to our favorite Christmas tree farm.

The girls wanted one of these little trees.

We brought our puppy with us too. I know, she doesn't even look like a puppy anymore.

All the newspapers and magazines said to "bring the outdoors in" for decorating this Christmas.

I made little wreaths out of pine boughs from my daddy's yard. My friend Nic and I made our pine cone swags last year. Mine fit perfectly on this nail.

I put a little "outdoors" on the kitchen table...

...on the kitchen window... the dining room...

...and into the living room.

I'm so excited, I got a new iPad for Christmas from my hubby! I'm so glad we decided to cut back on spending this Christmas. He says that every year but he never cuts back.

The girls got all they hoped for and more. We ran around from house to house visiting and eating with relatives. You work on everything for a long time, and then it's over so quickly. Shopping, wrapping, making gifts, baking.

The only thing that's not over is all the sweets that have to be eaten. ;)

Hope you have a Happy and Blessed New Year!

October 30, 2011

Leaf Sunday

Today we had our third annual leaf raking party at my father's house.

My dad has nearly an acre of property surrounded by trees and it is too much for him to take care of by himself any longer.

We decided we should all share in the job and keep him sane.

As always, I took the opportunity to look for interesting photo subjects.

This is some moss on one of my favorite trees.

We bagged 59 bags of leaves in an hour and a half and he still has two or three trees that are green and need to fall. Also, his neighors trees have not fallen yet and they never pick up their leaves so they all blow into my dad's yard. So, there is more work to be done.

It was a beautiful day here, a break from the rain we've been having. When we were done we went inside for hot cider and chocolate. Then we had a dinner of homemade soups and subs.

Hope you had a great weekend! :)

October 11, 2011

Fluttering Beauty

Today I had one of my favorite monarchs in the garden wafting among the last of my zinnias.

This lovely creature let me creep ever closer to it.

It even let me touch its wing a little before it flew away.

I noticed that the center of the zinnia contains a bunch of little flowers. The butterfly had this long tongue-like thing (it probably has a name) that it would stick into the flower to get pollen or nectar or whatever it was after.

Maybe in this picture you can see it coiled up.  The butterfly was moving its food along the tongue-like thing into its mouth. It was fascinating. I couldn't believe I got this close to it.


Even though we have passed the end of summer on the calendar, we have had some great weather here for the past week. It was nice to spend some more time outside today. I feel like each day we have that is nice out also keeps winter away for one more day. What a nice treat for "end of summer". :)

Hope you are enjoying your end of summer/fall!

September 26, 2011

Busy Week

So this past week I was able to get some things done that I wanted to do this fall. It has been hard to get anything done with this doggy around. I probably have been spending too much time with her since I can't even leave the room without her whining. That's a big clue.

I was able to make some caramelized pear butter. My friend Kathy gave me a huge box full of pears.  

I don't feel that I have ever made it properly since I was told to chop up the pears and I never really pureed them. This year I had my brother's food mill so I tried it the correct way. It still didn't thicken the way I think it should, but I'm sure it will still taste great.

My brother also gave me a bushel of tomatoes. He made tons of sauce this year since he had 32 tomato plants in his garden.

So I washed them up and made sauce too. He gave me his recipe but I followed the procedure in the Ball Blue book. I was concerned about the flavor, I hate bland sauce, but this came out very flavorful. I was happy. :)

For all the tomatoes I had though, it sure didn't make much sauce. But, it's still better than no sauce at all. And, it was free.

I saved some of the tomatoes to roast.

My neighbor was telling me how she had roasted some of her leftover tomatoes with some olive oil and salt. I slow roasted them for about 11 hours at 200 degrees. The house smelled wonderful! Of course, I forgot to take a picture of them after they were done roasting and I already froze them. But I tasted one and it was delicious.

So, any of you who know me will know that if I have a change around here it totally throws me off. As you can guess, the dog has affected me. But, I'm sure it will be worth it.

She tries to bite the camera so I have to hold it high above my head and just shoot. I really don't want a big nose print on my lens and all my photos. Lol! I promise I will get better pictures. And, I will put up some photos of my summer. I did some fun things.

Thanks for continuing to stop in here, even though I've been MIA.
See you soon, I promise.

August 3, 2011

Am I Crazy??!!

So, I had my last day of work last Thursday. It was sad to say goodbye to the people I have worked with for so long. I hope to stay friends with them, but it will be hard at times since the pharm is open every day and most days til 9pm. It seems like if we ever wanted to get together, someone couldn't make it because of work.

Anyhoo, I was looking forward to having August to get all my projects outside done. Do my spring cleaning and relax with my family while we got ready for school to start.

Instead, we got a puppy.

This was the scene in my living room on Thursday morning.

And on my last day of work, I didn't even have one hour of being able to relax and enjoy, when we picked up our new baby.
I must be crazy.

But she's really sweet, and she really is trying to get outside to go potty. And keep her teeth off of us. And not drag her water bowl around the kitchen and spill water everywhere.

Okay, I have to go, she needs to go out. Be back later!

July 23, 2011

Flower Power

Holy Hydrangea! I had to cut some of these and put them in my ironstone pitcher. I was dreaming of filling it with flowers the day I bought it.

And to make all things sweeter, I had a monarch on my white cone flowers!

The monarch is my favorite butterfly and I haven't had one in the yard in a couple of years.

We are back from Cape Cod and I have some great photos to share. But, of course I have to unpack first. I'll be back!

I'm so thankful for a safe trip home (I really can't stand thruway driving, it's so harrowing). :)

July 14, 2011

Coastal Decor

I love to decorate my house for summer.

I think its because I looooovvvvveee seashells.
(Must be the Pisces thing)

(Two pictures taken by my girl Big V)

I have little dishes and jars of them all over the place.

Here is a great little memory I made with a jar of things collected on the beach.

The shells and rocks that are in the jar are from our first trip to Cape Cod. The kids were little and we went with some really good friends of ours. I filled the jar with the shells and rocks and put a picture of our girls and our friends girls dancing on the dock inside the jar as well. 

Then I wrote the place and the year on a tag and tied it around the jar.
It has been a source of much admiration since I made it.
It always makes me smile at the memory of a great trip with our friends and how cute the kids were.

Hope you are out there making good summer memories!

July 10, 2011

Phase Two: Complete

The porch floor is finished.

I love the color. I have used a similar color in both my living room and my back hall.

I'm so excited that things are getting done around here. Next my dad and I are going to do some repairs to the wood frames and then I will start painting that and the screens.

It's nice to see some results and be able to check things off my list.

We will be going to the Cape soon, so this week will be hectic. But the end result will be a great vacation so I'm looking forward.

See you soon!

July 9, 2011

Floor Painting

Today we moved e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g back out of the screened porch so I can start painting the floor. (Phase 2)

If I decide the floor needs a second coat, this will all stay here until tomorrow.

So here are the before photos of the floor...

...and here is the color that it will become.

It's called "Pebbled Path" and it's a cross between gray and brown.

Off I go, have to get this finished. Then I can move on to the next phase. Lol.

July 6, 2011

New Directions

So today I am celebrating new directions.

Today I gave my three week notice at work. I have decided that I cannot keep working in such a stressful job, it is affecting my health. When I first started there, my fibro was mild. But I really think that my job is the reason that I have been having so much trouble with my pain management lately.

When I was a stay-at-home-mom, my friend Amy worked and she used to say that her employer got the best part of her every day and that she didn't have much to give her family when she got home. I started feeling the same way lately. Always coming home crabby and complaining. Never getting anything done. I still have to spring clean and it's July.

Yesterday was especially difficult. It was the day after a holiday, and for some reason, everyone needs their medications on those days. So being busy and short staffed, I couldn't eat when I was hungry and got a migraine. Also, from all the working about the house for the party this past weekend, and walking to the fireworks and back, my hip was killing me. Then, this sweet lady comes in and starts telling us how her husband is dying. She cried. I cried. (My head throbbed). Some things her husband is going through remind me of how my mom suffered. I couldn't take it any longer. Not that I am unfeeling, I think I feel too much. We have lost some of our favorite customers, some wonderful blessings to this earth. Every time we do, I cry.

I just decided that I need a break. I need to get into a job that is more creative. I need to spend time on my Etsy shop. I need to get out there and find a place for me that allows me to make something beautiful, or make something look beautiful. My life will take a new direction. 

So, today, I feel better :)

I came home from work all giddy, my kids were laughing. They thought it was weird that I was coming home from work in a good mood. My dad asked if I was drunk! Lol! Then the girls laughed even more. I feel like a giant weight has been lifted.

Remember last summer I was marveling at the hydrangeas on Cape Cod? And I was going to disguise myself as a local and go to a garden center there to try and get their secret for growing plants just covered in flowers? Well, I figured out the secret!
I just don't know what it is yet.

This thing is covered in flowers/buds. I don't have any idea on this planet, what I did.

It also amazes me how each flower is a different color. I know, it's all about the acid in the soil. But, it still is a little mind boggling that a plant can have so much variation.

Light pink, dark pink, green, pinkish-purple, darker purple, a tinge of blue on one side of the plant...
...white, pale purple with pale green on the other side. Just amazing. I've been putting things on the top of the soil like pine needles and coffee grounds. Maybe that's why its so varied, those items may not be hitting all the roots. This fall I will work the soil around it and add a bunch of stuff. Maybe I'll get solid blue next year then. Although, I really think the varied colors are beautiful.

So, I am thankful today for a great husband who has supported me and put up with my bad moods after work for the last couple of years. He has encouraged me to do what I would like. He knows the old saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy". Lol. But really, he's too good to me.

And I'm also thankful I had a job when many people didn't over the last few years. If any of you are looking for a job, pharmaceuticals is the place to be, cuz doctors are prescribing the crap out of them.
Have a great night! Remember you are blessed!!! 
(Gotta go get the girls from the movies)